You Capture My Year In Review

I’ve been trying to participate in a photo forum on Thursdays. Brought to us by I Should Be Folding Laundry (me too, by the way)  It’s called You Capture. Every week there is a new theme. This week’s was “My Year in Review.”

Click on the link here to read about how to play along. Then do your best to visit the other participants’ sites – everyone loves the traffic, the comments and the feedback (not just you!) Next week’s photo challenge is Your Winter. Everyone will post pictures of what winter is like where they live. That should be interesting, don’t y’all think?

And yes, I realize that today is Friday. I wanted to have this ready yesterday, but I’ve been working 12 hour shifts all week. The last few weeks have been brutal, y’all. I feel like it’s been all I could do to just keep my head above water. Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve were spent working. The whole month of December was pretty much a blur.

Today is the first day of a seven day break for us. (We work really odd hours in case you didn’t know.) I’m hoping to get back on track in the next seven days with a lot of things; eating healthier, cleaning my pig pen house, trying on clothes I got for Christmas, putting away Christmas stuff (ugh!) managing piles of laundry, catching up with friends and family, getting reacquainted with my hubby and last but not least, blogging.

But today, I’m dedicating to doing as little as possible. If that means lying around in my bathrobe drinking Bloody Marys all day, so be it. Reminiscing about last year is a good way to start off the week.

In January, we had a rare sprinkling of snow. It hardly ever snows on the coast of North Carolina, and when it does, we all lose our minds, y’all. Everybody except the damn Yankees, like my husband, who have moved down here to make fun of all of us silly southerners enjoy our balmy weather.

February was spent worrying about our love tree. We call it our “love tree” because when we first met, it was just a little stick in the ground, basically. There was some discussion about whether or not to just pull it up. But when I revealed to Jeff that a former boyfriend of mine had said that this tree “would never amount to anything”, Jeff decided to dedicate his life to making this tree grow.

After much fertilizing, it is now taller than our house. But we may have fertilized it a bit too much last year. As you can see in the photo, it developed a nasty split right down the middle of it’s trunk last winter.

March brought a chance to enjoy a golf getaway in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Jeff and I got a terrific deal on Ebay. We stayed two nights at a resort, played three different golf courses and took in a show at The Palace.

April was spent getting ready for my first grandchild! I gave my son and his girlfriend an Eco Baby Shower and almost went crazy in the process. You can read all about my ordeal  here. Amazingly, I found enough time to blog about it.

In May, my darling little grand daughter, Freya, was born.

Also in May, my oldest son, Kyle, not only graduated from college, but he and his wife, Erika, found out that they were finally going to have a baby! What perfect timing!

In June, we made the painful decision  to take the chain saw to the “love tree.” Jeff loped off half of it, hoping it would continue to survive –  as strong as our love for each other has. Six months later, it appears to be doing fine, just a little on the crooked side.

July was spent going on vacation to Busch Gardens and hanging out at Wrightsville Beach. This is one of my favorite photos we took this year. This is Jeff’s daughter and her friend, fighting the surf. These two fourteen year olds from Upstate New York were more than happy to spend the summer down here,working on their tans…

…and their texting skills.

In August we hosted our annual chicken spiedie dinner. It was my mother’s birthday, and she enjoyed playing patty cake with her great grand daughter, Freya, who was getting so big!

In September, we took the girls back to New York and spent some time outdoors with our rottweiler, Hannah, enjoying the last bits of summer.

October was a hard month. My son and his girlfriend moved to another state 800 miles away, taking my precious little grand daughter with them. They brought her over so we could say good bye.

The cooler fall weather in November inspired us to try out our golfing skills at a beautiful golf course, Lockwood Folly Country Club in Shallote, NC.

And the end of the month, on Thanksgiving Day, my grandson, Kole, was born! Another baby, another blessing!

December was spent getting to know this little guy! I took a week of vacation after he came home from the hospital to stay with Kyle and Erika and help out with Kole. And, of course, I have spent countless hours trying to capture this adorable face with my camera.

How To Be A Good Grandmother

Thanks to my friend, Jan, over at Jan’s Sushi Bar, I’ve decided to give this here posting every day thing a try, y’all. It’s called NaBloPoMo,and I can’t believe how long it just took me to write that. Stands for “National Blog Posting Month”. You post something every day for a month.

It’s ridiculously hard ….damn near impossible….a monumental task on the weekends..the biggest challenge of my life so far….can we just say only seven days left?…almost over and I have really, really run out of things to saybecome the bane of my existence…worse than I ever imagined it would be.

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This week’s Spin Cycle is about Mottos. Which ones we would use as our life’s Book Title, if you will. I like that WWJD question, “What would Jesus do?” because it makes you stop and examine your motives. And also because I think that most people who claim to be religious ought to stop and ask themselves this question a little more often.

But that’s another post.

Anyway. My grandmother was such a fine example to me, such a positive force and so loving and forgiving that I have always wanted to be just like her. Not that I’m puttin’ Jesus down or anything. I think He would be pleased if I was more like Grandmama, too. So I like to ask myself this question: “What would Grandmama do?”

Because she got a lot of things right, y’all.

And now that I’m a grandmother, of a perfect, precious little girl named Freya, and also a tiny, soon to be born baby boy, this question becomes more appropriate now. I will be so thrilled if my grandchildren grow up to love and respect me even half as much as I loved and respected this grand lady.

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This here is a picture of my dear Grandmother, Gladys Parker, with my three sons. She was their great grandmother. They called her “Grandma Park.” This picture was actually taken in a park, about eleven years ago. This was before I got married the second time, before my son got married, before grandchildren started coming, before anybody went to college and before my grandmother was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

I’ve posted this before, back in October of last year, right after she passed away. But it fits well for this topic, because it lists most of the tried and true saying that I learned at her knee. And she taught by example, not just by her words. Which is why I admire her so much.

Things I learned from my Grandmother

I learned that sometimes the best friend a child can have is her Grandmama…

For when all elase fails, ask her!

I learned that when you love someone, you make sacrifices

Lots of them, as many as you need to, for as long as you are able.

I learned that there is always a way to do something, if you “put your mind to it.”

I learned all the important things from her:

How to mix colors on a canvas, write a poem that will make people cry, cook collards, bathe a baby, load a washing machine, frost a cake, catch a crab with a chicken neck and some string and sit up straight!

I learned that a real lady is gracious and kind and speaks softly, never loudly

And makes sure she is dressed for the occasion.

I learned how to be polite and tolerant when people are rude and obnoxious

To people I dislike, or don’t approve of

And especailly to people I really do love, when they’re getting on my nerves.

I learned that charity begins in your own home

Then extends to your extended family

And that I have a responsibilty to others,

To my parents, and my ancestors, and my country.

I learned that alot of things are “too messy to fool with”

That it’s OK to get mad, but then you have to “let it go.”

That sometimes you have to lie awhile in a bed you’ve made

And some things in life are just pure wrong.

I learned that the best way to show love is by actions, not words.

That sometimes you have to stop and take a rest

But that it’s never too late to get started.

I learned that grownups can be alot of fun,

That childrens’ dreams really do matter

And that no matter how old you get, “You’re as young as you feel.”

I learned how to stop and let the ocean speak to me

And I never look at it without thinking of her.

I learned that you always, always, always defend the ones you love,

Refuse to listen to anyone criticize them,

And rush to help them when no one else does.

I learned that God answers prayers,

But not always right away.

And help often comes from the most unlikely places.

I’ve learned to never judge a book by it’s cover

That ordinary people can hide the greatest souls

And that poor people are sometimes the most generous, and the richest.

I learned that if you really feel like you should do something

Then you do it.

If you feel the need to say something

Then you say it.

But if it’s something “ugly” then you should probably bite your tongue.

I learned that you don’t say things like “pee” in front of the Preacher,

Or otherwise make a spectacle of yourself in public

And sometimes you just have to laugh.

I learned that it’s not necessary to tell everything

And to never be afraid to try something new.

To look at the clouds and try to imagine what kind of brush I’d use to paint them.

And always carry a light jacket if it looks like rain.

I learned that everything worth doing takes work

That some things are just out of our hands

And when something is finished, leave it be.

I learned that The Rock of Gilbralter

is sometimes disguised as a short, round, grey headed woman,

That talking things over with her

Could put anything into perpective

That no matter where I go, or what I do, or who I become

She will always believe in me and always love me.

I learned from her that family is the most important thing,

That children are to be cherished and protected,

And to be proud of the hard work of all my parents and grandparents.

She taught me that solitude can be a good thing

And no matter how alone I am,

I am never completely alone.

She taught me all about unconditional love

And, in doing so, the Love of God.

My greatest regret is not having a daughter to name after her.

My greatest hope is that someday

I will be as beautiful as she is.

And my greatest wish is for her to know

how significant she has been in my life

And how much a part of me she has become.

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I should probably mention that I have another blog that is devoted to her memory. It is called The Rock of Gibraltar and I have posted many of the poems she wrote, as well as old photos and her life story. I really need to work on it some more, and I will, when I get finished with the Month From Hades.

Making the Bad Better

Thanks to my friend, Jan, over at Jan’s Sushi Bar, I’ve decided to give this here posting every day thing a try, y’all.

It’s called NaBloPoMo,and I can’t believe how long it just took me to write that. Stands for “National Blog Posting Month”. You post something every day for a month.

spincyclesmallThis week’s Spin Cycle topic is “your favorite post”. It was hard to select a favorite ( I like everything I write, I’m vain like that! ) but this one definitely stands out from the rest. It has the distinction of being the one post with the least views of all time.


My blog will be one year old on August 24th, I have had a total of 10,147views and a grand total of 9 of them were of this post. It also had the honor of receiving zero comments.


It’s no real mystery to me why this particular post, entitled “Mysteries”  received so little attention. I posted this after I lost my beloved grandmother, the author of this poem,  after I had just found out that I was about to become a grandmother, myself! I offered no prelude, or explanation, so it just kind of sat there waiting to be noticed.  Quiet and unassuming, it comes without  fanfare and it asks for none.

And yet, it says volumes. Kind of like my grandmother.

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Mysteries

As each season passes by,

When rain drops from the sky

Or the sun shines from above

And we feel the warmth of love,

Does not mankind understand?

These are the wonders of His hand.

How the wind stirs the trees

Or lashes out on angry seas

And whips the sand across the dune

Or scurries clouds o’er the moon.

Does not mankind really know?

These are wonders He doth show.

He pulls the shade when there is light

To make the darkness of the night

All our cares and burdens keep

While we rest in blissful sleep

When morn comes, we know someone

Moved the stars, the moon and sun.

If the greatness of this span

Is not enough to convince the man

Let’s ponder on a baby’s birth,

Life and death upon this earth,

Then we surely understand

These are the mysteries from God’s own hand.

by Gladys Parker

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Rest in Peace, Grandmama Gladys. I will always love you.

Driving Miss Lucy

spincyclesmallIt’s time to do another Spin Cycle. Finally. I know. This week the topic was “driving”. And, miraculously, I thought of something to say about it.

Now I have to admit, I’ve been real reluctant to write anything lately. I guess y’all could say I’m pouting. See, my new baby grand daughter, and her parents, my son and his girlfriend, are planning to move away to another state. And this news is just so …..crappy…..  that I’ve been in an awful mood about it.

But I do realize that folks move all the time, especially in this economy. And I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my own childhood. My parents decided to move from Wilmington, NC, my hometown, to Eau Gallie, Florida when I was only five and my brother was a newborn. Now I know how lost my grandmothers must have felt, since we were their only grandchildren at the time.

But the two of them were good friends, having met on the job before either of them even got married. Both of these fine women were telephone operators for Ma Bell in the 1930’s. They both eventually married my grandfathers and settled down on the same street to raise their children. Both families attended a small Baptist church on that same street. My parents were the epitome of “childhood sweethearts”. They met as youngsters in Sunday School.

Having their children and grandchildren move to Florida in 1963 meant just one thing for these two lifelong friends, who were by then both widows. Road trips! My mother’s mother, Miss Gladys, being known as a tomboy all her life, of course drove. My father’s mother, Miss Lucy, being one of the prissiest women the South ever turned out, of course rode. Oh, and she talked. If there is one thing Miss Lucy was good at, it was talkin’ yer ears off.

I’m pretty sure she had some stories that probably lasted the whole trip.

To say my brother and I  looked  forward to these visits would be an understatement. It was a car full of love ( two grandmothers at once!)  that pulled into our driveway a few times a year, just in time for supper. They would usually stay for a few days, bestow us with hugs and kisses and gifts and plenty of grandma stories, and then make the trip back.

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The two ladies seated in this picture are my grandmamas. The one on the left, in the dark glasses, is Miss Lucy. The one on the right, clutching her purse, is Miss Gladys. I think this picture was made at Miss Lucy’s birthday, when she was about 89. When she passed away, a few years later, Gladys wrote the following poem, describing their road trips to Florida to see me and my brother.

LETTER TO LUCY

You passed the door of mystery
The door we’ll face one day.
We breath and live in this world
And one day we’re taken away
To a place with streets of gold
No sickness or sorrow there
Just love and beauty I am told.
God’s love is everywhere.

I’ll always remember my co-pilot
Who talked and guided the way
On trips to see our children;
It always took a day.
On 17 was the way to go
No super highways then.
Some day this I know
You will be my co-pilot again.

With Love,
Gladys (5/19/03)

I’m certain of few things, y’all. One is, I was very close to my grandmothers, even though I was growing up over 700 miles away. And I’m determined to be close to my grand daughter, if it’s the last thing I do. Two, I know my grandmamas, grand ladies that they were, are together again right now. Gladys was able to join Lucy last October. They are up there somewhere right now. And, of course, Gladys has the wheel.

A Thousand Words Thursday #9

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This, y’all,  is my new grand daughter. She is just three weeks old in this picture. She is looking up at my husband, as if to say, “What up, Poppa?”

Or, she could be thinking, “What the heck IS that?”

Or, (my personal favorite) “No wonder Gramma is so crazy about this guy!”

Or, maybe she  instinctively knows that this one tender man has the capacity to become  her safety net.

Whatever she is thinking, it is definitely worth a thousand words.

atwtWhich just happens to be the rules of another photography meme called A Thousand Words Thursday. It is hosted by Jen, at Cheaper that Therapy. I think she’s on to something, myself. The idea behind this one is to post a picture that is worth a thousand words. Be sure and click on the link above, and add your photo to the list. Then have fun visiting all the other blogs and viewing what they think is worth a thousand words!

Watery Wednesday Tears

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It’s Watery Wednesday and I’m makin’ some water, in the form of tears. A lot of things make me cry. Sad movies, like My Dog Skip or Charlotte’s Web. Heck, even sad commercials get me. I cry at weddings and funerals and when my boys give me sappy Mother’s Day cards. I cry when I get mad, or frustrated and (I hate this) when I make mistakes at work. I even cried when I was watching Shamu the Whale at Sea World. Don’t ask me why, it just got to me, OK?

But this right here is one of the best things I’ve ever cried over. My grand daughter, Freya. This is a picture of me holding her for the first time. I thought I could get through it without crying. But then I had to go and try to say, “Hi sweetie, it’s your Grandma Ginger.”

Oh shoot. I just made myself cry again, y’all.

waterywed2b1Watery Wednesday is hosted by 2sweetnsaxy at Eyes, Mind and Heart. It’s so easy, even cavemen and southern grandmas can do it! Just post a photo, on Wednesday, y’all, of something with water in it. Then link back to Watery Wednesday so other folks can enjoy your photo! That’s all ya gotta do, I swaunee.

Shadow Shot Sunday – Hazy Light

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My grandmother loved this photograph so much – the way it captures the hazy light behind the shadowy trees, that she painted it several times. Here is one of her original paintings:

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She was a very talented self taught painter, and a her soft, creative spirit is greatly missed.

shadow-shot-sunday-logo11Shadow Shot Sunday is a cool idea for a meme that has folks posting photos of shadows, and then linking back to Hey Harriet’s blog so everyone can visit each others pictures. This week is the one year anniversary of Shadow Shot Sunday, so Happy Anniversary, Harriet!